Midway in Panevezys

  • 2008-12-10
  • By Justinas Vainilavicius

HIDDEN BEAUTY: There is more to this small Lithuanian town than first meets the eye.

VILNIUS -  When driving from Vilnius to Riga, or the other way round, make sure to stop in Panevezys. The city is halfway between the two capitals and well worth visiting for at least one afternoon.
Do not expect breathtaking views or impressive architecture here 's but this fifth-largest Lithuanian city has more to offer than meets the eye. Probably the most exciting place in town is Senvage's park. You will find an artificial lake with a fountain in the middle, alongside small islands connected to each other with little bridges. Therefore, this place is hugely popular among newlyweds to take photo sessions.

It is one of those parks where people come to actually enjoy themselves. Some are doing exercises, some just hanging out with friends or having a picnic and feeding the ducks. And the ducks are more than crazy here.
They come out of nowhere the minute you throw a piece of bread into the water. They swim in gangs so it is easier to fight over the food. Take enough bread to make them happy and not willing to bite each other's throats. However, the biggest competitors for these ducks are the limbless ones 's fish. There are lots of them and they eat the ducks out of house and home.

This is a place for competition not only in the animal kingdom, but also between sportsmen. The end of the summer usually marks the beginning of the kayak and canoe races in Senvage. Every spot in that park acts as a perfect place to watch it.
Some modern sculptures are scattered all over the park as well. The city is known for its visual fine arts, especially ceramics. Panevezys organizes an International Ceramics Symposium every year in the summer. The symposium attracts some of the most prominent artists around the globe. They leave everything they make over the period of a couple of weeks to the city.

 Savivaldybe's Square is a central one. It is overflowing with flowers, full of cafes, and if it is a Friday evening you may get lucky and see the marching orchestra.
The square is also a starting point of the biggest festival in Panevezys "Mes ateinam" (We are coming). It is a modified and locally adapted version of the Rio de Janeiro carnival, with different dance schools competing with each other. Although it is an annual event, it does not have a set date and typically takes place on special occasions, such as this year in the autumn.

Panevezys is celebrating its 505th birthday this year. Everyone is invited to join.
If you can, visit the town by car as it is by far the easiest way. People are better at giving directions and they get sincerely surprised if you use your legs to go 300 meters.